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Competition crowding ballot

If you voted early and it seemed there were a lot more decisions to make this year, you aren’t imagining things.

In addition to all the attention given to the three big races on this year’s ballot – president, governor and U.S. senator – many voters in Allen County and northeast Indiana face more decisions than they are accustomed to.

All but one of the Allen County government offices up this year are contested – a rarity with Republican-dominated county government. Democrats have candidates for three County Council seats, commissioner, coroner and treasurer. And nearly all of the northeastern Indiana legislative seats are challenged, something that seldom occurs in the strongly GOP region.

Indeed, only two candidates appearing on the Allen County partisan ballot will be automatically re-elected – Republican county Surveyor Al Frisinger and State Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, a Democrat. Though it’s rare to see an uncontested Democrat on an Allen County ballot, GiaQuinta’s district is heavily Democratic, even more so following last year’s redistricting. And Kevin Howell, a Republican who has sought GiaQuinta’s seat, won a County Council seat in 2010.

Elsewhere in northeast Indiana, Republican state Sen. Susan Glick of LaGrange is the only other legislative candidate running unopposed.

Redistricting is one of the reasons Democrats have fielded so many candidates for legislative offices. Because of redistricting, “The districts are new, (so) there’s a better chance” of winning, said Democratic State Rep. Win Moses, who faces Martin Carbaugh this year.

Statewide, 67 of 100 Indiana House seats have Republican and Democratic contenders – compared to 56 in 2004. And several other House seats include a major-party and minor-party candidate.

Though Fort Wayne Community Schools board seats have long been chosen in the November election, other districts – including the remaining three in Allen County – have moved their elections from the May primary to November under a state law designed to increase voter participation. So, many voters who have avoided primaries will be seeing school board races for the first time. And in Allen County, most are contested.

Also on this year’s ballot statewide: Contested races for state superintendent of public instruction and attorney general, as well as yes-or-no retention votes for two state Supreme Court justices and four court of appeals judges.

Tracy Warner, editorial page editor, has worked at The Journal Gazette since 1981. He can be reached at 461-8113 or by email,